There are times when it is so difficult to figure out why people do the things they do, and the things they do are beyond dumb. One of them would be my Bibik OR-CARE who would be the epitome of dumbness.
Since my second daughter now lives with us, I do the school-bus run to send her to school early in the morning, exposing me to a new phenomenon in that dumb universe she lives in. Bibik OR-CARE would wear tudung inconsistently. She would sometimes wear a tudung, sometimes she’d just put on the anak tudung, sometimes she’d walk to the park without any tudung at all. Now, in the morning, I would get to see her wear tudung, but she’d be in shorts while most other times she would be covering everything but her hair. Or, she would even have that tudung put over her scalp like a piece of cloth, untied. Just like putting a handkerchief on top of the head.
So, I now have a sphygmomanometer on standby inside my room in case I need to know why do I have an acute headache after seeing her weird behaviour.
Now, why do I remember why I should write this posting?
Just the other night, Wifey, my brother-in-law and I were discussing about some dumb things that people do. 22 years ago, I was the Adjutant of the Air Force’s Air Training Command, located in Tanjung Bungah on the island of Penang (now called the Sekolah Ikhtisas Tentera Udara). There I met a female Corporal from the Armed Forces Religious Corps. Let’s call her Ustazah Z. Ustazah Z hails from Gulau, a kampung in the district of Sik, on the way to Gubir. I bet you wouldn’t even know there is a place called SOK there.
Anyway, Ustazah Z joined the Territorial Army but was absorbed into the Religious Corps because she graduated from a religious school. She had never traveled outside of Southern Kedah, not even to Alor Setar, the state capital. Therefore, reporting to our headquarters was like going abroad for her.
I received a “signal” (the equivalent to a telegram message) from the Religious Corps HQ informing us that she would be reporting on one Monday morning, and had requested that she be picked up at the ferry terminal on the island-side between 6am to 6.30am. I in turn ordered the duty driver, Leading Aircraftman Roslan (a Leading Aircraftman is the equivalent of a Lance Corporal) to wait for her at the jetty. When asked how would he recognise her, I told him to look out for a woman in green baju kurung uniform.
Three hours later, I received a call from Roslan telling me that Ustazah Z hadn’t turned up. He told me that he could not see anyone wearing the Religious Corps’ uniform. At that, I told him to return to the HQ.
An hour later, I received a call from Ustazah Z:
Ustazah Z: “Assalamualaikum, Tuan. Ini saya Kopral Z. Patutnya saya lapor kat unit pagi tak sat (tadi) tapi saya lewat la Tuan. Feri tak dak!”
Me: “Kamu ni betul ke ada di jeti feri?”
Ustazah Z: “Betui, Tuan. Takkan la saya nak muhung (bohong)!”
Me: “Takkan tak ada feri? Feri punya banyak!”
Ustazah Z: “Betui, Tuan. Feri pi Pulau Pinang tak dak. Saya dok tengok kat feri semua dok pi tempat lain. Semua tulih Pulau Undan, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Rimau. Hak pi Pulau Pinang tak dak!”
Ustazah Z is not as dumb as Bibik OR-CARE is, just that she was never exposed to life outside her village, or at most, minimal. As a bachelor then, I used to spend most of my weekends in KL – I’d board the 2pm train to KL, and return to Penang by the only express bus service then that would go all the way to the island – SILVER EXPRESS. By the time I get into office, it would be past 8am, and I would have missed the morning parade.
One fine morning, the bus arrived early, and I made it to the parade. After the parade, Ustazah Z approached me:
Ustazah Z: “Awai Tuan hari ni! Tuan tak balik KL ka?”
Ustazah Z: “Habih, awai Tuan sampai hari ni. Tuan naik apa?”
Me: “Jalan kaki.”
To this, she paused for the longest time before looking at me with the most puzzled look and asked:
“Jauh tu! Bila Tuan start jalan?”